Tim Tessier started out talking politics at dinner parties and it led him to the campaign trail.
The 56-year-old Nanaimo resident, with a background in business consulting and real estate, is the local Liberal candidate running for Parliament in the upcoming federal election.
“I was passionate about some things that were going on. It started out with my frustration,” Tessier said.
So when he was approached to consider running as a candidate, it was a chance to walk the walk, so to speak. The Liberal nomination in Nanaimo-Ladysmith was originally set to be contested, but a week before the vote, the competitor withdrew to support Tessier’s acclamation.
The new Liberal candidate has now launched his campaign, and said he’s running because politics matter.
“It’s part of our lives,” he said. “Anyone who says, ‘I don’t vote, it doesn’t affect me,’ then they’re not paying taxes, they’re not following laws and so forth.”
When Tessier set out knocking on doors, there were certain issues he had in mind. He’s not seeing the sort of sustainable jobs in the region that will keep young people here. He thinks there needs to be more national leadership on transportation concerns. Delivery of health services is another priority.
But he’s finding that depending on with whom he’s talking, the discussion can vary greatly. He’s finding that a lot of people want to talk about the environment, pension protection, daycare or the criminal justice system.
“If anyone comes to you and says, here are the top three [issues], then I go, shame on them, because they’re not listening to a full array of demographics,” said Tessier
He recognizes the difficulty of drawing support in a part of Vancouver Island where the Liberals have run a distant third or fourth in recent elections. What’s different this time, he said, is that people might be willing to look beyond a party they’ve always supported. Liberal leader Justin Trudeau brings a sense of optimism that’s infectious, Tessier said, and is continuing to build a following and momentum in many parts of the country.
“I recognize we were coming in as a weak third, marginal fourth [here],” Tessier said. “We’re doing that at a national level. Never before in the history of our country has a third party had such a presence that we have the potential to gain power and form the new government and make real change.”